Quorum quenching and proactive host defense

Trends Plant Sci. 2003 May;8(5):238-44. doi: 10.1016/S1360-1385(03)00063-3.


Both plants and humans have inducible defense mechanisms. This passive defense strategy leaves the host unprotected for a period of time until resistance is activated. Moreover, many bacterial pathogens have evolved cell-cell communication (quorum-sensing) mechanisms to mount population-density-dependent attacks to overwhelm the host's defense responses. Several chemicals and enzymes have been investigated for years for their potential to target the key components of bacterial quorum-sensing systems. These quorum-quenching reagents, which block bacterial cell-cell communications, can disintegrate a bacterial population-density-dependent attack. It has now been shown that a quorum-quenching mechanism can be engineered in plants and might be used as a strategy in controlling bacterial pathogens and to build up a proactive defense barrier.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • N-acyl homoserine lactonase